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Too Much of a Good Thing

Udayana University Professor Says Bali Has Surpassed its Carrying Capacity for Tourism

(12/18/2011) The uncontrolled diversion of land from traditional uses to other primarily tourism-related pursuits is threatening Bali's future as an attractive world destination.

Quoted by the State News Agency Antara, Dr. I Wayan Windia, a Professor Emeritus at Bali’s Udayana University, said, “the uncontrolled change in land function is made worse by the lack of firm enforcement by the states in regulating beach set backs.”

He said the diversion from traditional land usage to other functions during the period 2005-2010 averaged 1,000 hectares each year.

The over-exploitation of agricultural lands has facilitated rapid growth in Bali’s tourism sector, literally paving the way for villas and starred hotels. Signs of overdevelopment are widespread, with evidence of environmental damage and land degradation commonplace across the island.

Based on a study and research carried out in 1975 by Societe Centrale pour l' Equipement Touristique Outre-Mer (SCETO), Bali’s carrying capacity for starred hotel rooms is 24,000. Bali has far surpassed this number with an estimated 70,000 rooms in operation, not including the many thousands of villa rooms and a large number of new hotels projects in the pipeline. In Windia’s view, Bali must introduce a moratorium on new tourism developments.

Moreover, Windia thinks its time to stop developing tourism in Bali.

Professor Windia says Bali is degraded, proven by unclean water wells, polluted oceans, and many problems resulting from growing mountains of garbage and trash.

Because of this, Professor Windia hopes the Minister of Tourism and the Creative Economy, Mari Elka Pangestu, will develop tourism equally in all areas of Indonesia and not only concentrate on new projects for Bali.